Every word in your cover letter should have impact, so ensure a strong start by addressing the greeting directly to the hiring manager. Unfortunately, anonymity has become common in job posts online, and you often have to perform careful detective work to track down the person most likely to interview and hire you. Whenever possible, avoid defaulting to a nonspecific greeting, and follow these tips to figure out the name of the hiring manager.
1. Read the Posting Carefully
Always confirm that the job posting doesn't list an obvious contact person, as a hiring manager or contact details may appear in small print or at the bottom of the listing. Check whether the description prohibits applicants from contacting the company directly. If all else fails, you can call the company or recruitment agency to ask which hiring manager is overseeing the position.
2. Identify the Job Poster
Depending on the website, a job description may have a posting ID that leads to a company recruiting page or displays the name and email address of the person who created the listing. At this point, you have a valid name of a professional who is directly involved in the recruitment process, but you can also perform further investigation to confirm the person's role.
3. Search for the Job Posting Elsewhere
In many cases, recruiters use multiple channels to post job descriptions, or other job search websites collect compilations of listings from around the Internet. Use a distinct section of the job post in quotes to perform a browser search. The listing you see may not be the original, so try to find your way back to the source to check for omitted information.
4. Follow the Email Trail
An email address may seem like a flimsy lead, but consider how often your own information appears on social networks, job boards and blogs. Perform a quick browser search using the email address with or without the company name to find hits related to your target hiring manager. If the email address is clearly company-issued, check the format to determine if it includes the recruiter's initials or last name.
5. Pay Attention to Titles
Reread the job description for the title or department of the professional to whom you would report. From that point, you can use the company's website or a business networking site, such as LinkedIn, to browse for names or profiles of hiring managers who currently hold the matching titles.
6. Tap Into Your Network
If a thorough search leads nowhere, consider asking friends, former colleagues or any contacts you may have from the company or recruiting agency. They may have other contacts with valuable insight, even if they don't know the hiring manager themselves. Otherwise, accept that a fruitless search may be an indication that the company doesn't care about the cover letter greeting.
Failing to use a personalized greeting doesn't mean you can't land the job, but many hiring managers view specificity as evidence of your willingness to make an extra effort. Try your best to find the right name, but regardless of how your search pans out, focus on presenting a strong application that conveys your impressive skills and work ethic.
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